Spurred on by an October 22, 2002 letter from the Vermont Library Association, Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) introduced a new bill on March 6, the Freedom to Read Protection Act, to exempt libraries and bookstores from Section 215 of the Patriot Act. He did so with a bi-partisan coalition of 24 co-sponsors. Section 215 is titled, Access to Records Under Foreign Intelligence Security Act (FISA). (Thanks to Donna Cavallini for alerting me about this news).
The goal of the bill is to protect librarians and bookstore owners, and their respective patrons from government sponsored data collection and surveillance without a search warrant and probable cause. According to Rep. Sanders, “The threat of terrorism must not be used as an excuse by the government to intrude upon our basic constitutional rights.”
In related news, see Book Snoopers’ Open Door, and Patriot Act Opens New Door to Official Snoops.